Many of us see mold as an unsightly annoyance or an occasional irritant to our breathing, but it’s much more than that! Cheryl Ciecko, a licensed architect, explains how it is a toxin that can easily grow in our office buildings or homes, and threaten our health. Cheryl’s ten-year-old daughter started having health concerns that seemed to appear overnight. She struggled with migraines and coughing fits; the doctors diagnosed asthma. Finally, they were able to pinpoint mold as the culprit of her deteriorating health. They found it in their home’s duct work. There are many other places mold can grow, undetected. In this episode, you’ll learn about the myths associated with mold (for example, it is commonly thought that bleach can remediate it, but it cannot), where it can grow, how it affects your health, and how to guard against it in your own home.
Cheryl Ciecko is a licensed architect, with a Bachelor’s from the University of Illinois and a Master’s from the University of Minnesota. She brings her architectural background and experience to bear on the topic of mold. Most of us see mold as an unsightly annoyance or breathing irritant, but Cheryl helps us understand the serious threat it can pose to our health. In today’s show, Cheryl touches on:
- her ten-year old daughter’s health concerns which included migraines and coughing fits; got diagnosed with asthma.
- how mold was the culprit, affecting her daughter’s health (and eventually other family members’ health, as well)
- the health issues that arise from mold in buildings
- how you can have symptoms everywhere even if you’re only exposed in one place
- how a person can become hypersensitive to mold
- how mold can grow in metal duct work
- how mold does not just appear as water damage
- how aspergillus mold (in the right percentage) can actually kill people
- how long it took her daughter to recover her health
- how illness may be delayed (husband got sick two years later)
- why everyone responds differently to their exposure to toxins
- how a plumbing leak can lead to mold in a home (despite taking precautions to avoid mold)
- how buildings age and what fosters the growth of mold
- why vigilance is key to combat mold
- details about mold and how it spreads (the spores are so tiny we can’t see them and they ride on currents of air, on the back of dust spores)
- how exposure to mold can result in flu-like symptoms
- myths associated with mold: if I can’t smell it, there’s no mold problem; if I don’t see it, there’s no mold.
- Drywall v. wood (which one allows for mold growth more easily)
- why bleach is not a good tool for mold remediation
- the solution for eliminating mold includes finding the source
- how checking humidity levels helps combat mold (should be under 45% in winter and between 50-55% in summer)
- some signs of mold: toilet seal leaks, buckling or bubbling paint, chalky paint, discoloration
- the importance of checking gutters and downspouts and looking for puddling/pooling of water during a rainstorm
- why you need to consider your environment when you are looking at what impacts your own health situation
http://cherylciecko.com – “Dwelling well in a toxic world”
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Diana Boskma says
Very interesting talk. It did make me worried. Our house was fine until we moved abroad for a couple of years and we had a tenant. When we were planning on moving back we learned that she had not been heating the house for years by then. When we came back there was black mold everywhere, all outside walls were having it on there, even our window frames, door frames, everywhere. We have been working on this for 3 years now to get it cleaned up. It is slowly getting better luckily. The walls aren’t so bad anymore, that takes a very long time to grow back, the window frames are a different story, there it still grows back. Summer is actually good as all through summer nothing grows back.
Obviously after the house was in such a state there was no way in renting it out or selling it, so we had to live in it again. It really didn’t help with colds and such. They take much longer to clear up in winter time.
Anyway, working on it and it is getting better.
The first year we just used bleach as I didn’t know any better, I kept having to clean it, it just wouldn’t stay away, then I researched and found what does work and that really has made a huge difference.
Thanks for the talk.